With the arrest of racist radio host Hal Turner, it’s probably not a bad idea for the public to take a deeper look into the dots connecting the extremism in the words of underground shock jock racism and the entertainment talking heads of mainstream media.
Hal Turner and Sean Hannity share more than just a passing connection.
In Max Blumenthal’s article Hannity’s Soul-Mate of Hate Blumenthal details the progression of Hannity and Turner’s relationship from Turner starting out as a caller into Hannity’s show to an off air relationship as connected spirits of like mind.
Turner was once a prominent activist in New Jersey’s Republican Party. To area conservatives, he was best known by his moniker for call-ins to the Sean Hannity Show, “Hal from North Bergen.” For years, Hannity offered his top-rated radio show as a regular forum for Turner’s occasionally racist, always over-the-top rants. Hannity also chatted with him off-air, allegedly offering encouragement to Turner as he struggled to overcome a cocaine habit and homosexual leanings. Turner has boasted that Hannity once invited Turner and his son on to the set of Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes. Today, Turner lurks on the fringes of the far right, spouting hate-laced tirades on his webcast radio show. Hannity, meanwhile, remains mum about his former alliance with the neo-Nazi, homing in instead on the supposed racism of black and Latino Democrats.
Today, Hannity tries to pretend he has never even heard of Hal, which is understandable, but it lacks honesty.
It was brought to light just recently during the 2008 presidential campaign, right on Hannity’s television spot on Fox News when Hannity believed he was being slick by inviting on Malik Shabazz of the extremist New Black Panther Party. The New Black Panther Party has such a controversial reputation that Obama had rejected their endorsement. Racial obsessed Hannity thought he was going to feed the fear of people of color to his hate driven base by trying to puppet stage a claim that Obama has associations with fringe ideologues.
Hannity lost his footing in his attempt at staging an attack on Obama by underestimating Shabazz’s knowledge of Hannity’s own ties.
Hannity added, “What I don’t think you’re understanding here, Malik, is that when you hear the minister of him for 20 years, when you hear the associations with Louis Farrakhan, one of the biggest racists and anti-Semites in the country, what you’re not understanding is, America hears extremism at its worst.”
Shabazz responded, “Let me ask you this. Are you to be judged by your promotion and association with Hal Turner?”
Hannity waved his arm around. “I don’t know anybody named – this is nonsense. I don’t…” Then Hannity changed his tune. “Sir, sir… That was a man that was banned from my radio show ten years ago, that ran a Senate campaign in New Jersey.”
Then, as Shabazz refused to stop talking or back down, Hannity, in a tacit admission, said, “I’m not running for president.”
“A neo Nazi, you backed his career,” Shabazz said.
Hannity answered, “That is an absolute, positive, lie and you’ve been reading the wrong websites…, my friend. Good try.
Actually, not only was it a good try, but a successful slam on putting a fail mark on Hannity’s poor attempt at propaganda.
What is the icing on the cake was Turner’s response to Hannity’s televised response to Shabazz, Turner posted on his site:
“Oh, yeah! We’re best of buds!”
I was quite disappointed when Sean Hannity at first tried to say he didn’t know me and then went on to say that I ran some senate campaign in New Jersey. In fact, Sean Hannity does know me and we were quite friendly a number of years ago.
When Hannity took over Bob Grant’s spot on 77 WABC in New York City, I was a well-known, regular and welcome caller to his show. Through those calls, Sean and I got to know each other a bit and at some point, I can’t remember exactly when, Sean gave me the secret “Guest call-in number” at WABC so that my calls could always get on the air.
Turner was released from jail yesterday, June 8 2009 at 2:30 am on a $25,000 bail and charged with “Inciting harm to property or persons” a felony which carries a jail sentence of 1 to 10 years in prison.